The European Central Bank (ECB) has approved an "investigation phase" for its digital euro, the watchdog said in a statement. The ECB says the phase will last 24 months and focuses on key issues regarding design and distribution.
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ECB President Christine Lagarde said the regulator had carried out further analysis, and sought input from citizens and professionals.
"All of this has led us to decide to move up a gear and start the digital euro project," Lagarde added.
A digital euro must meet all the needs of Europeans and help to prevent illicit activities, the ECB hopes. The watchdog emphasizes that the investigation phase "will not prejudge" any future decision on the possible issuance of a digital euro. During the phase, the ECB will focus on a possible functional design that is based on users' needs.
The ECB also claims the infrastructure for the digital currency would be "environmentally friendly" in comparison with bitcoin (EXANTE: Bitcoin). However, it remains unclear whether the European regulator is going to build the digital currency on the existing blockchain network (e.g. Ethereum) or not.
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